Thursday, 14 July 2016

Sunrise and Xihu




      

           
We beat him to the spot today. In the last two days, Mita mahi and I have found him  swaying and dipping the fishing net into the brown  water of the Brahmaputra. We were a trio in companionable silence, waiting patiently to be obliged. He, for fish. And us for the perfect sunrise on the Brahmaputra. In our last two attempts,  we arrived a little late to find the sun a few notches above the horizon.

                           
Today we watch him silently walk down the slope towards the water, with long poles over his shoulder. Putting his things down, he assembles his fishing gear. Two poles are positioned as a  cross with a string holding the middle. A net comes out of his bag and its four corners are deftly looped to the four ends of the poles. Holding the third pole from the center he gently dips the billowing net into the water.On the first day he had shown us his catch. An assorted lot of small fish, enough for one meal.

                                         

It is a favoured spot by the circuit house on the bank  of the river. We had arrived in the dark today, hoping to catch the sun emerging from the water, almost chased by stray dogs manning their territory. Sitting on the rocks with cameras ready, the sight of the river is soothing, almost tranquilizing the weary soul. The sinews relax and the edginess of anticipation dissolve and seem to be carried away by the water. Some debris float down in the distance. A crow flies and perches on it. Soon a few more join and enjoy an early morning free ride in the river. And just when they seem to have moved far away from their nest, they fly back to the bank till another one comes carried by the current. Like children running and climbing behind vehicles that come into their village.
 

                               


                                                         
The sky lightens a little towards the east. The horizon has a thin layer of grey. We keep our fingers crossed. Both Mita mahi and I. The fisherman continues with the dip and the sway. A boat comes in from the other end with two men precariously trying to balance it along the shore. It comes quite close to us and then moves away to the other end. Looking out at the vast water the mind expands to let in the thoughts along the time line. Of the past and the present and what the future holds. Mita mahi fills me in as to how these waters abounded in river dolphins when they were young. Ferrying in the country boats, it was a delight to see this lovely mammal jump around. Until only a few years ago, it was possible to buy fish from the fishermen right in the middle of the river while one commuted across the river. Who would believe those stories now, she asked.

                                 

The fisherman patiently continues  his motions with the net. He is yet to catch any today.
Do you get to catch Hilsa now?
No, he replies, I get them only in October when they swim up from the sea to lay eggs.
That's quite a distance they swim upstream from Bay of Bengal to spawn, I note .

The horizon doesn't look too good with the thin layer darkening. The dawn has brightened further and our apprehensions are confirmed. The sun emerging from the water remains hidden behind the layer of clouds. On my last day at Goalpara, I missed the perfect sunrise yet again. I look around to take in as much as possible of this quiet spot. The silver grey water is faintly rouged up. And suddenly there is a sound of parting water. A grey body juts out tossing and turning in the water quite close to the rock where we sit.
" Dolphin!" I squeal.
Mita mahi whips her head around just in time to catch another jump of this lovely animal. We are speechless. Even the fisherman grins looking at where it had splashed.
"Xihu!" he says quietly. There is not a single fish in his net. Mita mahi smiles, so they are still here she says. We wait for some more time. The sun peeps out from behind the clouds. The perfect sunrise eluded yet again. But the Xihu gave us hope for another time.



This post was written for TWTFOW#5 


20 comments:

  1. Beautiful imagery. Many of us don't observe what is going on around us. Especially me, if I am intent on my photography. Shared! Alana ramblinwitham.blogspot.com

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    1. Welcome to my space Alana and thank you Alana for your kind words.

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  2. Fishing and patience should be synonymous I guess....:)

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    1. Fishing does teach a lot of things, I guess.

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    1. Yes, Meenal but fast diminishing.

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  4. Reads like a thriller. Racy. Pacy. What a chase! :)

    Arvind Passey
    www.passey.info

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    1. Thank you :) We missed what we set out to capture but returned blessed.

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  5. Your posts on nature a treat. I love reading them. Watching a dolphin can so exciting.

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  6. Beautifully flowing narrative, carrying me to the river with you. As always, you capture every little 'event' around' you not just with words, but with your artful usage of tiny, little details Ilakshee, keep writing dearest.

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    1. Thanks Kay! *grinning from ear to ear* You made my day!

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  7. Evocative - I could imagine myself there by the river. Will follow your blog.

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    1. Thank you very much Debeshi! It is wonderful to have you here.

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  8. That is such a fascinating account for waiting for the sunrise: patience, hope, disappointment and then rays of hope. A flash of Xihu.

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    1. you have put it across succinctly! Someday I hope to witness both the sunrise and the Xihu.

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  9. Ilakshee, what beautiful imagery you've created here! I've missed reading your posts :)

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    1. Missed you here too Hema! And thank you for the lovely words.

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  10. Beautiful words and beautiful images!

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    1. Thank you Subha! You are very kind :)

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Your words keep me going :)